What to do if you discover a lump?

Dr. Greene’s advice on discovering a lump…

Finding a lump on your child’s body is not necessarily a bad thing, in fact most of the time little lumps it’s a good thing: healthy lymph nodes swell when they are attacking foreign invaders.

The question is how to tell if the lump is well-behaving lymph node or something more serious.

With just a couple of quick checks, you can either quickly rule out anything serious, or know that you and you child should follow-up with a doctor.

Watch the video below tell you how to determine which you’re dealing with.

More information on lumps and lymph nodes:

If there is anything you’d like to know about lumps or lymph nodes that I didn’t address in the video, drop me a comment and I’ll try and shed some light on your question.

Published on: June 28, 2015
About the Author
Photo of Alan Greene MD
Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
Get Dr. Greene's Wellness RecommendationsSignup now to get Dr. Greene's healing philosophy, insight into medical trends, parenting tips, seasonal highlights, and health news delivered to your inbox every month.
Showing
50
comments (103 total)
Add your comment

Recent Comments

Hi Dr. Greene,

I would like to ask about my 20mos old little boy about his penis because I notice a small lump over his penis, the lump located between from the top to the end of his penis.
Do I need to worry? Pls help and give some doctors advice thank u.
All the best..

Ive felt a lump under my rib cage in my back been the same size for past 3 years worried

Hey Dr drgreene I’m Amanda and I’m 16 yrs old I found a bump/lump almost nxt to my ear i really wanna know what it is cause I’m scared😔😔☹☹and I wanna make sure I’m ok.

I have had a lump on my neck for two years. It has not gone away. I have not thought about it because its painless. Now Ive been feeling like crap for over a month, stomach hurts a lot, joints hurting, very, very tired. Ive stopped exercising because either I’m tired, hurting or both.

Hi doctor , i have a lump on right of my neck not visible but pains when I touch.i am 16 a teen girl

Hi Doctor my name is Tracey from South Africa I’m stressing about a pea sized lump I found in the left hand side of my 3 years olds lower stomach where a woman’s ovary would be sometimes I feel them and then I don’t sometimes there’s only one lump other times more I can feel them move around a little when I push on them when I Google I see cancer pls could u give me some advice.. Thank you

Hi doctor, I noticed a hard lump in my child’s chin in the middle it is not painful is it something that I need to worry??

I have a 7 months old baby, i discovered yesterday that he has a small lump behind the ear., but it seems as if is not painful.
I’d like to know the reason doctor if you can help me.
It worries me
Than you

Pls what can i do and what drugs can i buy for me and my baby that have hard something in her left breast inside her nipple please am beging

I as her mom i have something hard on my two breast but is not paining me , but wen i breast feed my baby it well soft and i wouldnt really feel it again but wen my breast is full of breast milk i will feel it again

My 5 months old have something hard on the left breast on d nipple and am so worried but it not paining her at all

My 11 yr old daughter said something about on lump on her neck. It is on the side of her neck way below her ear. It is the size of a large marble. She says it doesn’t hurt and she hasn’t been sick at all. She has been sleeping alot. I am very concerned as my sister was discovered with a knot in the side of her neck at the age of 28 and it was Hodgkins

Hi. I just noticed about a penny size lump on his arm right below his shoulder. Is this cause for concern?

Hello, My 3 year old son has a lump under his chin in his throat (like a mans Adam’s apple) but he says it does not hurt and he does not complain of having pain. Is this something I should be concerned about?

My baby has a bump on the right side of is head an is getting bigger what is.Is something worry about

helo Dr. My 3 year old has several non painful lumps about 8 at the back of his head, must I worry? how will they go away because if they don”t go away they might affect his appearance.

Lungile,

Thanks for writing in.

Have you seen Dr. Greene’s Q&A on swollen lymph nodes? If not, check that one out.

Best, @MsGreene
Note: I am the co-founder of DrGreene.com, but I am not Dr. Greene and I am not a doctor. Please keep that in mind when reading my comments and replies.

Dear, Dr.greene I’m 12 years old and frightened I fell asleep and woke up with a lump on my back/neck and I’m really scared

Hi Victoria,
Thanks so much for writing in! If the lump is still there and you’re feeling scared, it’s probably wise to first take some deep breaths and calm your body down, then tell an adult and/or go see your doctor. They can help.
Hope that helps, hang in there!
Alexandra (caring helper at drgreene.com, not a doctor)

Doctor I discovered a painless lump in my 10 year old’s right armpit. We had X-rays and CBC blood work. All was considered normal. Although the radiologist did say on the report that there was a soft tissue lump seen. It has been there for at least 3 weeks. It doesn’t move, doesn’t hurt and has gotten slightly bigger. Should I be worried?

Hi I’ve just got my son back to sleep after a couple of hours pain out of nowhere I feel a lump it seems to move unless it’s because my child is agitated an moving I rub I console but I’m really scared this as been since he was a young boy around 12months but I put it down to growing pains or gristle I think it’s called why is it hurting ? Should I be scared he is now four years old .

My 14 year old daughter has a small painful lump on the back of her neck to the right of her spine. It came on suddenly. It hurts to touch. Should I keep an eye on it to see if it gets bigger. I don’t want her to be in pain. I thought maybe a warm moist compress in case it could be a pimple.

Hey am 17 and i recently had a sore throat this week and I notice this lump the Same week. Should I be worry about it. Please reply back as soon as possible

Hi, I have a small lump under 1cm, on the right handside of my neck, under my ear and my throat hurts when I swallow, is this a bad thing?
I haven’t visited a doctor as it has happened a couple of days ago(3/4)
Please,please help,

Bump head that left a lump

Hi Doctor Greene, My son is 15 years old and tonight he showed me 3 lumps on his neck below his ear, that were not there before. I have never noticed anyting like this before during his growing years. Should i be worried, have made an appointment to see his doctor.

I have this small movable lump in my breast not very sore to the touch but can be iritating,I don’t k ow if it was just me but I felt as if it had grown a tiny bit.If I move it to much it has a tingle on my nipple,I am only 14 years old I just want to know if it’s nothing to worry about as I have my full thought on cancer bug my parents say it’s probably not and booked me in for a doctors apointment.I juast need someone to explain this to me please

Degan,

Dr. Greene outlines when to worry about breast lumps in boys. Here they are:

  • If they begin before age 10 years or after age 15 years (especially after puberty is complete)
  • If they are not directly under the nipple
  • If there is overlying dimpling of the skin, skin ulceration, or change in the color of the skin
  • If the they feel fixed to the skin
  • If they are large–over 1.5 inches (4 cm) in diameter
  • If they don’t go away within 2 years
  • If the nipples leak milk, blood, pus, or other fluid
  • If there are other signs of disease–night sweats, fever, or weight loss, for example

From your description, it doesn’t sound like any of these apply to you. I think it’s great your parents are taking you to see your doctor, in order to ease your mind. In the meantime, you can relax.

@MsGreene
Co-founder & Executive Producer DrGreene.com, Mom
Note: Not Dr. Greene, not a doctor. Keep that in mind when reading my comments and replies.

I started off having lower back pains on the left side it has now turned into a small squishy ball and seems like he kind of wants to roll around is really sore to touch what can I do or what could it be

Cortney,

I’m not a doctor, so I can’t tell you for sure (and probably a doctor couldn’t without examining you), but it sounds like a cyst I once had. It was surgically removed in an easy outpatient procedure with no side effects and no recurrence.

Bottom line, time to see your doc.

Best,
@MsGreene
Co-founder & Executive Producer DrGreene.com, Mom
Note: Not Dr. Greene, not a doctor. Keep that in mind when reading my comments and replies.

My 4 yr old has a couple of lumps probably just under 1cm diameter on his penis just under the skin….they seem soft and move around a bit..Doesn’t seem to be hurting him or causing any thing unusual .

Hey Doc my son is 6 months today. Last week I noticed he have’s like four lumps each side of the head and neck in different sizes what could it be. I have an appointment with the Doc in about 2 weeks should I take him sooner ??

That’s normal, all my children have had their lymph nodes like that and you can call your Dr office but I bdoubt they will have u come in.

Hello Doctor my son is 17 he has a bump on his back near his neck little fine bumps are on them he says the lump doesn’t hurt him he does play football….

Hey doctor.. Im 19 and recently i found a bump on my head.. Its in the middle its kinda bonny.
Should I get a visit about it?

My 4 month old grandson has had a hard lump about inch in diameter for over a month. The pediatrician says it’s a lymph node, but I am concerned because the lump is hard, doesn’t move and is not getting smaller. He is not sick and had no cuts. My daughter is taking him to a specialists next week. What tests will they do and if it is more serious how will they treat in?

hi doctor im devonia i have a son age 3 he has has lumps in hes kneck and on hes private part for a year now.Im so worried as a parenr he has seen a doctor already he went for test an all an nothing was rong but it still aint dissapearing can u give me any advise cause it becoming a problem to me now

Hi I’m 13 years old and I have a soft tiny bump in the middle of my back head and I’m really worried idk Wat to do please answer.

Hi I’m 13 and have a very soft moveable lump under my arm well it looks like a lump but doesn’t feel like it it sticks out and is sometimes painful it isn’t hard and it isnt non- moveable ! It’s very soft and moveable and sometimes becomes inflamed and itches !! I haven’t had any breast cancer symptoms and it isn’t getting any bigger and has gone down a bit I’ve had it for about 1 month and a half now I just wanted to ask you if it could be dangerous and if it can just be left alone !

Grace,

If you’ve had a lump for longer than a few weeks, it’s worth a call to your doctor to discuss this with the advice nurse. He or she will know if your doctor would like to take or look just to be on the safe side.

Best,
@MsGreene

Hi DR Green my daughter is 5yr old my wife found 2 lumps in her neck 1 round circle about 1cm diamiter the other lower very tiny both on her left side.she had a rash like flu a couple of weeks ago.As parents we are scared Sind her older sister 11 just went threw the same thing she had a lump under her armpit & a couple tiny 1s in her neck it tuned out to be Hodkins Lymphoma she was in stage 2 she went through chemo & know she’s been in remission for 2 months.so you see our worry Dr.Please write me back I’m at a loss.

Mustapha,

When you have a child with a cancer diagnosis, it’s only natural to worry that a lump may be cancer. That doesn’t mean that it’s a problem, but your worry is understandable. If for no other reason than to ease your mind, it would be wise to have a doctor examine your 5 year old.

I hope that’s helpful,
@MsGreene

My daughter has a hard pea sized “knot” even with her ear canal at the base of her skull. It is stationary and very hard. She’s shown none of the other symptoms you described in the video and acts fine. Should I be concerned?

Hi Dr. Greene….I really appreciate your video it was really helpful. I am a very concerned parent/grandparent, as last night a discover three lumps on my 12 year old granddaughter. One is walnut size located on the top of her neck, spin area and is hard and walnut in size, the other is behind her ear, also hard, not as big and then further down her neck, a pea size lump which seems to have some movement. The other two are solid in place. I have managed to get her into her doctor today; however, I am very concerned. Jan Ross

Hi Dr Greene…My 20 month old granddaughter is on of identical twins that were born prematurely at 37 weeks and she is the smaller of the two..She recently had roseola in which she had a high fever resulting in a convoltion..We took her to the hospital and she was released that night..That was 5 days ago..She now has 2 lumps in the back of her neck which are soft & movable and they don’t seem to be sore..Is this a concern?

H, I have a 4 month old baby girl & about a month or so ago we noticed a lump under her chin, it also looks bruised! It has gotten smaller & I thought it had gone away! Then there it was again, about the size of a nickle..it makes her look like she has a double chin! It doesn’t seem to bother her at all, she is a happy & active baby! She was born 6 weeks early & spent 12 days in the NICU because of low blood sugars,low weight & jaundice.. Anyhow, the lump is starting to worry me! Want to know if you have any ideas as to what it could be?!?! Thanks for your time (:

Hi I’m 16 and i found a lump on my armpit and it’s not hard but it do hurt me im just worried about it.

wht happens if the lumb is hard but small plz let me know as i am worried something is wrong with my head

My daughter has a lump the size of a three golf balls under her right side we went to see speciallist says its a hemangioma, plus it could be cystic

She’s only 3 years old three and a half years old

Hi my son has a lump on the back of his neck. It’s about half a penny big but he says it hurts when j touch it. It is not rock hard.

Dr Greene, my 9 year old granddaughter has a hard lump on the left side of her neck. I took her to her pediatrician who ran tests and then gave her antibiotics to take for 10 days. The lump is still there and kind of hard but cause no pain to her. The pediatrician said she has to run more tests after the 10 days. Is this bump normal for a child?

My 1 year 5 months old son has a lump on his neck.
It is not painful and mobile.
His development is normal

My son is turning 8 years old this coming july 27.he has a neck lumps on the right side of his neck.when i touch his lumps i asked him if its painful,he said no pain.i discover this lumps when he was almost 4 years.until now the size is not increasing. What is this doc? What should i do?

my 8 year old son has had a swollen gland on he’s neck for 2 months last week i found a bump on he’s lower part of he’s head . I took him to our doctors & he found another 2 swollen lymph nodes on he’s neck he said they felt like soft peas. We have to take him back in a month & if they are still there we will be referred to ent specialist.My son hasn’t been ill & is full of energy but i am worried sick . please reply

My son now 5 had about 6 swollen nodes on each side of neck when he eas 3 this went on for months our dr said maybe a bug bite ….yeah right! Anyway i decided to take to ent he had his tonsils and adnoids out a few weeks later and those swollen nodes went down completely hes very skinny so i think it looked worse than it was but i was terrified! The drs all told me the place to worry for any swollen lymph nodes is the collar bone. He is a very active happy 5 year old now. I didnt even know he needed his tonsils out but he did one was a lot bigger than the other too so that worried me. All is good.

I’m scared I might have something because I found a lump behind my neck

My 4 year old son has a marble sized lump at the back of his throat. He has had for at least a month now and everytime we see a doctor we are told it a viral infection. It seems to have got slightly bigger since the last time we saw a doctor and I’m worried about his airway. Please can you give me some advice on how to handle this now as I don’t seem to get anywhere with our gp.

My daughter had a lump come up on her neck she 2 years old she not bin ill but does have problems but 10days later we went back to the doctor and there was 10 limps he don’t no what thay are but is going for Mri soon I’m so worried tho

My daughters lump is on the side closer to her ear.

Hi, I am 16 I have a lump on my neck and behind my ears. Can you tell me, is that ok?

My 16 year old son has a hard lump on the back of his head just above the base of his neck any ideas

So do I. Have you found out anything?

My 14!year old son also have a hard bump/lump in the same place , maybe a bit higher above the hair line. My son said it feels sore when touched or when he wears a baseball cap. He did not fall or bump his head in any way –

My Goddaughter has marbal size bump on her spine what can this be and should she see the doctor it was not there yesterday but today it is she is 1 yr old